Letter: Charities: dangers of separating campaigning from providing services

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The Independent Online
Sir: Charities anxious to protect their status should not let government proposals for change avert their attention from the problems they have at street level. Over the last year or so, in different towns, I have been accosted by 'charity' workers, invariably in their early twenties, behaving like timeshare salesmen. I've seen them run across pedestrian precincts to physically block someone's path before pleading for money.

Sometimes they'll offer a free organ donor card, ask if you'd like to help terminally ill children, or raise some other emotive issue; but it's all a scam aimed at 'selling' a competition leaflet or ticket or a cheap little badge for a pound. Carrying ID cards and literature, they must rip off many people who believe they're contributing to a bona fide charity.

I dread to think how much is diverted from the proper organisations, and since police and local councils seem unable to discourage these sharks, it is surely up to charities themselves to take action.

Yours faithfully,




13 October